Cacio e Pepe is a quick cheesy dish that is just right for you. This is a comfort meal that is simple and delicious!
Serve cacio e pepe with Caesar salad or broccoli and some cheese bread and dinner is served! Your family will love this quick Italian dish!
Cacio e Pepe recipe
In Italian, Cacio e Pepe literally means "cheese and pepper". It is also pronounced "kah-cheeoh eh peh-peh" so you can sound as authentic as this dish is. This addicting dish first appeared on the Roman frontier of cooking and is now a staple food across Italy. This stripped-down version of mac and cheese combines the best and simplest ingredients to create a restaurant that deserves a meal at home. The flavors are simple, authentic, and addicting.
Your family will want you to make this Cacio e Pepe over and over again. And because it's so simple, you don't mind doing it. Cacio e Pepe is creamy and cheesy, but without cream and a lot of fat. Another plus for this is that it's a healthier version of your go-to-adult version of macaroni and cheese. Perfect! With only 4 ingredients, it's a great choice for busy weekdays or even a quick romantic dinner for two.
Ingredients for decadent cacio e pepe
This dish is so authentic, but so simple. You will love the taste, texture and lightness of this dish. With just 4 ingredients, you can do this tonight!
- Thick spaghetti noodles: If you can't find a thick spaghetti type noodle, regular spaghetti will work.
- Butter: Adds some richness and flavor to the dish.
- Coarsely ground pepper: For the best taste, it should be coarsely ground pepper. It will be worth it.
- Pecorino Romano cheese: Find where your grocery store sells their specialty cheeses. Often with the parmesan blocks.
Making authentic cacio e pepe
Yes, it's super easy and quick, but you need to process the sauce just right. Using the pasta water is key to getting this velvety-creamy sauce without any cream or milk.
- Pasta: Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan and add the pasta. Cooking al dente.
- Storing pasta water: Reserve a cup of pasta water and let the pasta drain.
- Melt: Put the butter in the saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add the pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes. Take off the stove.
- Cheese: Return 2 cups of cheese and pasta to the saucepan and stir until the cheese is melted and coated. Garnish with additional pepper and cheese.
What kind of pasta and cheese work best?
The creamy cheese sauce goes best with pasta, which can be wrapped and held in the sauce. You want a noodle that is tender but toothy and doesn't disappear in your mouth like angel hair. Make sure you cook your pasta al dente for the best results.
- Tonnarelli: This is the pasta traditionally used in this dish when you order it in Italy. It's thick and toothy and holds the cheese sauce firmly in place. It can also be difficult to find.
- Bucatini: These hollow thick spaghetti are the next best thing and easier to find. It has a bit of chewing too and the hollowness fills with the cheesy sauce, yummy!
- Linguine: Slightly smaller than fettuccine pasta, it's a great choice if you can't find a bucatini.
- Spaghetti: Spaghetti just works perfectly, especially when you don't have any of the others on hand. Cooked al dente and you have the perfect noodle for this amazing cheesy dish.
- Cheese: If you want to make this Cacio e Pepe enjoyable, make it with the right cheese. You will not regret it. It has a stronger, salty taste than Parmesan, which pairs perfectly with the freshly ground pepper.
Tips for Perfect Cacio e Pepe
There are a few tips that you should follow to make sure your sauce doesn't get lumpy and your pasta doesn't get greasy. All it takes is a little tech and your Cacio e Pepe will be perfect every time.
- Not too much water: You want your pasta water to be very sticky, so boil your pasta in the smallest amount of water that your pasta will still boil. All you need is about 2 gallons of water, and collect your pasta water after cooking to get most of the starch. I also like to reserve a little more water than I think is necessary.
- Add the pasta water before the cheese and pasta: As soon as the butter and pepper are cooked, remove them from the heat and slowly stir in the pasta water. Once it has combined, let it sit for 3 minutes.
- Add the cheese one at a time: Allowing the water to sit for a few minutes will ensure that the water isn't too hot, which can cause the cheese to set and clump together. While adding the cheese, whisk constantly and place on a burner over low heat. Stir constantly until melted.
- Add pasta halfway each: Stir in the first half of the pasta and stir to coat. Then add the rest and add more pasta water as needed to thin the sauce.
- Finely grate your own cheese: For the best cheese results, you'll need to grate your own, using the smallest holes in your grater. Pre-rubbed usually has anti-caking agents that prevent melting. Also, rub your cheese before you start cooking. You only have a few minutes before it needs to be added to the butter and water. You want to be ready on time.
- Pepper: Use coarsely ground pepper for the best taste. It has the best bite and taste. The grinding is worth it!
Prepare other Italian-inspired dishes
Italian food is synonymous with comfort food. Italian includes pots of pasta, comforting soups, hearty dishes and don't forget the bread! Oh and of course there is the pizza. Although you won't find many of our pizzas in Italy, the taste profile is the same. Italian food is high on my list of some of my all time favorites. In addition, they are often very easy to manufacture. They take simple ingredients and combine them into fantastic flavors. And Italian food is usually easy to prepare. So when the craving for something Italian-inspired arises, grab these time-tested favorites.
Cacio e Pepe
Preparation time 5 protocol
cooking time 10 protocol
total time 15th protocol
Servings 4th People
Cacio e Pepe is a quick cheesy dish that is just right for you. This is comfort food that is simple and delicious!
or fettuccine or linguine
freshly ground coarse black pepper
Pecorino Romano cheese
Calories738kcal (37%)carbohydrates87G (29%)protein35G (70%)fat27G (42%)Saturated fat16G (80%)Trans fat1Gcholesterol88mg (29%)sodium832mg (35%)potassium309mg (9%)Fiber4thG (16%)sugar3G (3%)Vitamin A.522IU (10%)calcium691mg (69%)iron2mg (11%)
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is an estimate only. Every recipe and nutritional value depends on the brands, measuring methods and serving sizes you use per household.